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Froma Walsh

Froma Walsh, Ph.D., is Co-Director, Chicago Center for Family Health, and Firestone Professor Emerita, University of Chicago. Her 120+ publications include: Strengthening Family Resilience (2nd ed., 2006/2011); Spiritual Resources in Family Therapy (2nd. ed. 2009); Living Beyond Loss: Death in the Family (2nd ed.); and Normal Family Processes: Growing Diversity & Complexity (4th ed., 2012). A Past President of American Family Therapy Academy, and past Editor, Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, she has received many awards for her distinguished contributions and is a highly regarded international speaker and consultant on community-based resilience-oriented training and practice.


Strengthening Youth and Family Resilience

How can we help children and families to overcome significant adversity? Informed by research on resilience and extensive clinical experience, Dr. Walsh will present her Family Resilience Framework, identifying key processes and mobilizing relational resources that facilitate resilience. She will describe practice applications in community-based, collaborative work with vulnerable youth and families for: a) healing from crisis, trauma, and loss; b) navigating disruptive transitions (e.g. migration; separation/ divorce); c) thriving despite chronic multi-stress conditions (illness/disability; unemployment/poverty); and d) overcoming barriers to success for high-risk youth (Gang Prevention / Youth Development program). Case illustrations will highlight the power of belief systems (meaning making, hope, "mastering the possible", and transcendence/spirituality) for transformation and positive growth.



Traumatic Loss: Facilitating Healing and Resilience

Traumatic death and loss of loved ones can shatter the lives and future dreams of youth and families. This tragedy occurs too often in poor and marginalized communities suffering persistent violence and despair. In contrast to predominant individual therapy models with trauma and bereavement, Dr. Walsh will present her resilience-oriented systems approach to facilitate key family and community processes that nurture recovery and resilience. She will offer practice guidelines and case illustrations with the loss of a significant family member in situations of mass trauma, violent death, and ambiguous or stigmatized loss, with focus on community violence; war-torn regions; and major disasters. Efforts to strengthen family resilience in response to traumatic loss can yield unexpected personal, relational, and community transformation and positive growth.